The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has urged Cambodia and Thailand to establish a permanent ceasefire following closed-door talks on recent military clashes between the two Southeast Asian neighbours.

“The members of the Security Council called on the two sides to display maximum restraint and avoid any action that may aggravate the situation,” Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil , which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, spoke to the press after the meeting on Feb. 14.

The Council members further urged the parties to establish a permanent ceasefire and to implement it fully and resolve the situation peacefully and through effective dialogue, she added.

The Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe and Marty Natalegawa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, and Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand were present at the meeting.

The Security Council expressed support for ASEAN’s efforts regarding the situation between Cambodia and Thailand , and encouraged the parties to continue to cooperate with the organisation in this regard.

The issue is expected to be discussed at the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on February 22.

On the same day in Bangkok , Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban downplayed the risk of further military clash with Cambodia .

The Thai government believed in improvement in the border issue, he told reporters.

However, he called on Thai soldiers to be ready to fight for territorial sovereignty defence.

The Thai Deputy’s remark was made when nearly 20,000 Thai people around the disputed area began to return home after evacuation.

Also the same day, a number of schools in border districts reopened.

The conflict started with crossfire between Thai and Cambodian soldiers on Feb. 4 near the ancient temple of Preah Vihear , causing casualties on both sides and forcing thousands of local people to be evacuated from their homes.

The Hindu temple was inscribed on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)./.